Sinking Ship Productions

    Original devised theater, puppetry and music.

    Kafka's A Hunger Artist

    Sinking Ship Productions is raising money to produce "A Hunger Artist" at The Connelly Theater in June 2017, followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in Baltimore.

     New York, NY, United States
    This is a Fiscally-Sponsored Project

    Fiscally Sponsored by Fractured Atlas

    "Beautifully imagined...full of heart...riddled with fun surprises, unfolding with ingenuity...It left me mentally and emotionally satiated."
    Culturebot, feature article on New Ohio workshop presentation

    “[Audiences are] constantly looking for the next new thing... and with this talented company, we may have found it.”
    —Jason Zinoman, The New York Times


    A Hunger Artist is our newest production--an original adaptation of Franz Kafka’s A Hunger Artist. We’re partnering with The Tank to premiere the play at the beautiful Connelly Theater in a month-long, 21-performance run next month. We’ve been working toward this moment for more than two years. 

    Co-created by Sinking Ship’s artistic directors Jonathan Levin and Josh Luxenberg and director Joshua William Gelb, A Hunger Artist is about a performer whose act is to fast in public for forty days at a time. This is Kafka brought to the stage in an entirely new light—fast-moving, funny (and yes, unsettling--after all, it is Kafka), with a striking design that is full of surprises, created an incredible team of artists. (But don’t take our word for it! Check out the trailer above to get a feel for the show.)


    And after our NYC run in June, we’ll be bringing the show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest performing arts festival in the world and a proving ground for many innovative theater companies. And after that, we’re going to Baltimore for a stop at the Theatre Project in December.

    This is a big deal for us! It is our first new large-scale project since 2014’s Powerhouse—which you may remember was a New York Times Critics Pick and played to sold-out houses. A Hunger Artist will be the first international presentation of our work, and the first show that we’ve built to tour. If all goes well in NYC and Edinburgh, we expect to launch a tour of the work in 2018 and beyond.

    It’s an incredibly ambitious year, and we’re already most of the way there. Now we need your help.


    “Are you still starving? When are you going to stop...?” A man sits alone in a cage, starving himself for your entertainment. Once cheered by thousands, the Hunger Artist is now forgotten by everyone except his one-time manager. What begins as a simple nostalgic story transforms into a startlingly inventive, darkly comic trip into the nature of memory, art, performance, and spectatorship, as told by the only person who remembers an artist whose act was simply... to hunger.


    A Hunger Artist was developed beginning in 2015 (at the Freight residency in Cambridge, NY) with the support of grants from the Henson Foundation and the Schusterman Foundation. We have had several workshop performances including at Cloud City, the Jalopy Theater, the New Ohio Theater (Producer's Club series) and Theatre Row (UnitedSolo Fest - Award for Best Satire). Our June run will be our official World Premiere.  


    We need to raise an additional $15,000 to get through previews
    and to our opening night on June 7th. You may have noticed that A Hunger Artist is a “solo show”—but there will be over 30 people working together to make it happen. It’s a complex and ambitious piece of theatrical machinery. Ticket sales will pay for about 30% of the cost, and much of the rest will be covered by donations from generous (and attractive!) people like you. Your help will have an enormous impact on our company, on our artists, and on the audiences who get to see A Hunger Artist around the world, thanks to your contribution. We are so very grateful!

    We have already raised more than half of what we need to get to opening night, partly through grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, ART/NY, and a few already-secured donations. It is your generosity that will take us the rest of the way.

    Your donation will support:

    • ARTIST FEES - Our performer, writer, director, designers, stage managers and producers are all being paid for their work.  
    • SPACE - Theater rental, rehearsal space, and storage.
    • SET, COSTUMES, PUPPETS & PROPS - Materials and labor for building all the physical elements of our show, and building them to tour.  
    • MARKETING AND PUBLICITY - To help meet those box office goals.
    • INSURANCE, ADMIN, ETC.. - These are the nuts and bolts, but we need them too!


    Jonathan Levin - Performer / Co-creator / Props Design
    Josh Luxenberg - Playwright / Co-creator
    Josh Gelb - Director / Co-creator
    Peiyi Wong - Set and Costume Design
    Mike McGee - Lighting Design
    M Florian Staab - Sound Design
    Charlie Kanev and Sarah Nolen - Puppet Design

    Hannah Cook - Associate Set Designer
    Brian McCann - Cage Engineer
    Ariel Lauryn - Props/Puppets Associate

    Josh Luxenberg & Jonathan Levin - Sinking Ship Co-Artistic Directors
    Rosalind Grush & Meghan Finn - The Tank Co-Artistic Directors
    Audrey Frischman - Producer (Sinking Ship)
    Will Jennings - Production Manager
    Elizabeth Ramsay - Production Stage Manager

    And a dozen others who we will be hiring to help build the show.



    “POWERHOUSE, which somehow manages to pack very funny puppetry, exuberant dance numbers, fascinating historical tangents, a mountain of narrative and a vivid sense of period mood into one steam train of a drama, is the rare Fringe show that lives up to its title… [Audiences are] constantly looking for the next new thing... and with this talented company, we may have found it.”
    — Jason Zinoman, The New York Times

    “To learn something new at the theater... is worth celebrating. Take this 75-minute biodrama by the splendid company Sinking Ship... Aiming to honor the mad, creative urge to perfectly transmute ideas into art, this work succeeds beautifully.”
    — David Cote, Time Out New York

    “Thrilling! This isn’t just an ambitious show for the Fringe festival: it’s the creative standard to which companies should be pushing themselves.”
    — Aaron Riccio, Theater Talk's New Theater Corps


    “FIVE STARS! Takes your breath away. Performed with ingenious simplicity, this poetic enactment of Bradbury’s existentially spine-tingling tale is stunning.”
    —Kate Lowenstein, Time Out New York

    “[CRITIC’S PICK] A haunting evening. Anyone interested in... high impact theater... should take this show in.”
    — Backstage


    Sinking Ship Productions, founded by Josh Luxenberg and Jon Levin, is a Brooklyn-based physical theater company dedicated to the creation of original work. We often choose material that seems impossible to stage, and take particular delight in finding unexpected, unusual and surprising ways to tell a story. We build each show collaboratively, and draw from a wide variety of techniques, including puppetry, object manipulation, music and movement, to create distinctly visual work.

    Sinking Ship’s original works include There Will Come Soft Rains (FringeNYC, extended at Barrow Street Theater, 2008), Flatland (work-in-progress, EST/Sloan Foundation Commission, 2010), Powerhouse (work-in-progress at FringeNYC, 2010; premiere at New Ohio Theatre, 2014, O’Neill Playwrights Conference Finalist, 2012; New York Times Critics Pick), Ocean (work-in-progress, Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, 2016), A Hunger Artist (work-in-progress showings at The Freight Residency Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY, Cloud City, Jalopy, 2015, and at New Ohio Theater Producers Club, 2016).

    In addition to producing original work, Sinking Ship also runs the popular puppet and music series Puppet Playlist, which has played to sold-out crowds since 2009, becoming one of New York's premiere venues for original short-form puppetry.


    Everyone who donates will have our utmost gratitude. But to sweeten the deal, we’ve come up with a delicious “menu” of thank-you perks for donations at a variety of levels. Take a look!

    PoweredBySchusterman_960px (1).jpg 47.56 KB

    KAFKA'S A HUNGER ARTIST is being spearheaded by a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation network and has been awarded a matching grant. Schusterman is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. Learn more about the Foundation here.

    Sinking Ship Productions is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Sinking Ship Productions will be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.



    Donate $15.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    A social media “thank you!”

    An Elaborate Breakfast

    Donate $40.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    A personalized Toy Theater video “thank you” posted on social media. You’ll be a puppet!

    A Toast from the Hunger Artist

    Donate $75.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    We’ll send you a postcard from Edinburgh. Probably written in a pub. Probably after several beers. It might be from us, it might be from “Kafka,” or it might be from someone we just met. Who is our new best friend foreverrrr. Plus, the perk above!

    100-Year-Old Egg

    Donate $100.00 or more

    Amount over $2.00 is tax-deductible.

    We will send you authentic reproductions of Kafka ephemera. Perhaps Kafka’s exercise routine (with pictures), a letter where Kafka is afraid of mice, or a story ( recently discovered) about Poseidon getting burned out at work. Plus, everything above!

    Just Desserts

    Donate $150.00 or more

    Amount over $2.00 is tax-deductible.

    Invitation for you and a friend to an exclusive after-show party in a secret after-show location! This will be after the performance on June 15th. Plus, everything listed above! (If you can’t make it, we’ll send you an actual dessert.)

    Main Course

    Donate $250.00 or more

    Amount over $40.00 is tax-deductible.

    The thing itself: We will send you a bound copy of our script for A Hunger Artist, reproductions of costume designs by Peiyi Wong, and an original show poster! Plus, everything listed above!

    Table for Two

    Donate $500.00 or more

    Amount over $70.00 is tax-deductible.

    A pair of premium tickets to A Hunger Artist in any of our upcoming venues (NYC, Scotland, Baltimore). Plus, everything listed above!

    Snacks at the Circus

    Donate $1,000.00 or more

    Amount over $78.00 is tax-deductible.

    A delicious food-basket (no need for you to starve while supporting a show about a starving artist!) to enjoy at the show, or in the comfort of your own home, as you either reminisce or are haunted by our show! Plus, everything listed above!

    Honorary Chef

    Donate $5,000.00 or more

    Amount over $78.00 is tax-deductible.

    Associate Producer Credit in our program. Plus, everything listed above!

    The Entire Feast

    Donate $15,000.00 or more

    Amount over $1,000.00 is tax-deductible.

    Fund the whole campaign in one fell swoop? We’ll fly you to NYC, Edinburgh, or Baltimore to see the show! Wherever we are, we want you with us! (Obviously some restrictions apply. Contact us for details.) Plus, everything listed above!